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Auckland Mayor Welcomes Road Pricing Investigation

Wednesday 7 June 2017

Auckland Mayor Welcomes Road Pricing Investigation

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff has welcomed the joint Auckland Council and Government investigation into road pricing for Auckland as a practical, long-term solution that will help address the city’s chronic congestion issues.

The Mayor, Finance Minister Steven Joyce and Transport Minister Simon Bridges today announced the terms of reference for the Auckland Smarter Transport Pricing Project, a recommendation of the Auckland Transport Alignment Project (ATAP).

The joint Government and Auckland Council project will investigate the use of a congestion tax on Auckland’s road network and make recommendations on whether and how to introduce it in the city.

“I welcome Government and Auckland Council working together to explore options such as congestion charging,” said Mayor Phil Goff.

“Among the solutions to the problem of increasing congestion and gridlock is to adopt a smarter road pricing system. Well-designed road pricing systems have proven successful in influencing driving behaviour and reducing congestion in cities around the world such as Singapore, London, and Stockholm.” Phil Goff said.

“With 800 extra cars on Auckland roads each week, and 45,000 additional residents in our city each year, radical changes need to be made to stop our city grid-locking,” says Auckland Mayor Phil Goff.

“However, it will be years away before a congestion charging system could be put in place. In the meantime, with a deficit likely to be more than $7 billion to fund new transport infrastructure in Auckland over the next 10 years, we need new sources of revenue now.

“Revenue sharing from central government, as happens in Australia with a percentage of GST devolved from Federal Government, and the ability to raise revenue ourselves to fund infrastructure are both needed.

“There’s no silver bullet solution to traffic congestion, but more investment in transport infrastructure in Auckland is critical. Changing travel behaviour also has to be part of the solution.

“Auckland is constrained by limits on our ability to borrow and we have to rely almost solely on rates to raise revenue to spend on infrastructure. Congestion charging will work but only if we have created alternative travel options for Aucklanders, including effective public transport. That is what we need to be investing in right now,” he said.

Auckland’s Deputy Mayor Bill Cashmore says Auckland Council is looking forward to working with the government and various agencies in a continuation of the strategic approach agreed through ATAP last year.

“This is another important step towards addressing the serious transport issues we have in Auckland.

“Government and Council need to continue to work together to solve Auckland’s transport issues. Aucklanders want solutions now and we need to address the ATAP funding gap in parallel with our investigation on road pricing to ensure we deal to the immediate pressures on our transport system from population growth. ”

The Auckland Transport Alignment Project recommended progressing smarter transport pricing with a view to implement it within 10 years alongside the government and Auckland Council working on agreed approaches to addressing Auckland’s transport funding gap.

ENDS

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